The New Diary: How to Use a Journal for Self-Guidance and Expanded Creativity by Tristine Rainer

Book Review by Ruth Folit

The New Diary: How to Use a Journal for Self-Guidance and Expanded Creativity by Tristine Rainer is a must have book for the serious journal writer. Anaïs Nin, whose well-known published diaries span seven volumes and who collaborated with Rainer in teaching a journal writing course, wrote the preface to this book.

Rainer’s book, written in 1978, is a comprehensive discussion of journal writing spanning the gamut of topics from “diary devices” (a.k.a. journal techniques), to ways of transforming personal problems, discovering joy, doing dream work, to re-reading your journal, and expanding creativity.

The chapter “The Diary as Time Machine” examines the journal through the lens of time. Its perspective is unique among journal books and contains valuable insights.  Here’s a sample from that chapter: “The diary is the genre of the present moment.  And on the continuum of time between past and future, the present moment is the point of power from which you can influence the meaning and direction of your life.  The present moment contains all you have experienced, felt, and thought in your lifetime…. It also contains the seeds of all you are to become.  The present moment is the portal to past and future, and the diary is the vehicle that enables you to travel into both dimensions.”

The New Diary would be valuable to those looking for a thorough and scholarly review of journal writing.